If your tap water tastes metallic, smells strange, or has a yellow or orange coloration, then you likely have iron contamination on your hands. In this case, an iron water filter is essential if you want to have good quality water to use for drinking, cooking, and washing.
Where Does the Iron in My Water Come From?
Iron is a natural mineral that is present in the Earth’s crust. It seeps into underground water channels, and layers of permeable rock called aquifers. This happens more so when there has been heavy rain or snowfall. A well pumps water from these underground reservoirs and aquifers and contains many impurities, including iron.
Old pipes that have become corroded and rusty can also lead to iron contamination in your water system.
Can’t a Water Softener Treat Iron?
The answer is both yes and no. Traditional water softener systems remove ferrous iron from low pH levels and don’t contain much oxygen. The issue arises when ferrous iron is exposed to air, causing it to oxidize and become an insoluble ferric iron that a water softener cannot simply treat.
What Harm Does Iron Cause?
Discoloration of your toilet bowl, sink, and bathtub will probably be your first warning sign that you have an issue with iron in your water. These trademark orange stains are unsightly and can affect your kitchen appliances and any other fixtures exposed to the contaminated water.
In a similar way to the calcium and magnesium in hard water causing limescale build-up, iron in your water will accumulate over time in a solid mass and cause your pipes to become clogged, reducing water pressure, and negatively affecting the performance of your household’s plumbing system as an entirety. Bacterial iron will also block your pipes with a nasty brown sludge that is disgusting and a health concern as it is a breeding ground for harmful pathogenic bacteria.
Not only does iron color your water—anything from muddy brown to bright orange or yellow—it also gives off an unpleasant odor, as well as a distinctly metallic taste. This makes it unsuitable for drinking and uses in cooking, rendering your water supply fairly useless in terms of personal use.
How Do I Get Rid of Iron in My Water?
The removal of ferrous iron from your water involves using an efficient water filter that should handle most of the work. However, unless you can be 100% certain that there will be absolutely no exposure to oxygen, then it is fairly certain that some of the ferrous iron will become ferric (solid particles), which require further treatment.
A sediment iron water filter is the most appropriate plan of attack when dealing with ferric iron. As the water passes through the system, the filter captures the solid matter, including any bacterial iron, leaving you with fresh and clean drinking-quality water.
If you are unsure, whether you have iron in your water, watch the video below. An easy testing kit can quickly tell you, whether and how much iron is in your water:
Although a water softener can theoretically cope with ferrous iron, it is advisable to err on the side of caution and install an iron filter if you suspect that your water source contains iron, and especially if you draw water from a well. There are many solutions to protect your home, and your health, from the unwanted effects of contaminated water.